Dr. Karambu RingeraIPI Founder & President
Founder and President, International Peace Initiatives. Born and raised in Kenya, she earned her Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication in 2008 from the University of Denver. She earned a Masters Degree in Media from Natal University, South Africa, as well as a Master of Theological Studies (with a peace and justice emphasis) from the Iliff School of Theology in Colorado. She received her Bachelor of Education degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Ringera is a 2016 Cordes Social Entrepreneurs Fellow; a 2015/16 Next Generation Leader Fellow of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, USA; the 2015 Life Achievement Award and 2015 Master Scholar Award winner, University of Denver, USA; and the 2012 African Achievers Award, UK – for her cutting edge work in innovative and sustainable models of development & peacebuilding, women’s human rights and global leadership programs around the world. Dr. Ringera is a visionary, an activist, a compassionate, committed, formidable force for change, and an inspiration to all who meet her.
Mrs. Eva Muriungi
Eva is a high school teacher and a motivational speaker.
Mrs. Susan Mukiri
Susan is a local business owner in Meru County.
Mrs. Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin is a retired educator.
Mr. Dickson Mugendi
A native of Kenya, Dickson brings a long history of organizational entrepreneurship and an established human rights record to his role. Dickson is well known for community development and humanitarian work. He served as President of the Rotary Club in Meru and currently serves as Rotary Kenya Country Office Board and Assistant Governor for the district that includes Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. He is the recipient of the Rotary Star President Award and the Women’s Human Rights Advocate Award for Africa. He is founder of Solidarity House Community Based Organization which helps women access start-up funds for income generating enterprises. Dickson is a lawyer and also has a Masters degree in Human Rights from Mahidol University.
Mrs. Faith Manyara
Faith is a local medic and a retired nurse.
IPI-U.S. Board of Directors
Eamon AloyoDirector of ICSP
Eamon Aloyo is a political scientist interested in issues related to global political theory such as the responsibility to protect (R2P), just war theory, human rights, and global justice. He works as a senior researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. In 2011, he received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was honored with The Thomas Jefferson Award. Articles of his have been or will be published in several academic journals, including Ethics & International Affairs, and International Theory. He is additionally a senior analyst in the global justice section at the Global Governance Institute, and a senior fellow at the Canadian Center for the Responsibility to Protect. He has taught or assisted teaching courses on human rights, political theory, international relations, comparative politics, and environmental politics. Eamon is contributing to IPI by managing the International Collegiate Scholars Program (ICSP) program. He helps to identify the scholars for University education as well as to secure funding for the tuition of these Kenyan students. Eamon lived in Meru, Kenya in 2005 and has been a board member of IPI for several years.
Mike BeerntsenVice Chair
Mike Beerntsen began his career in experiential education in 1994 leading wilderness programs for adolescents. He followed his passion for education and the outdoors to Outward Bound, where he worked from 1998-2002. During these years, he was as an instructor, course director, and staff trainer for programs serving at-risk youth in Minnesota, Montana, Texas and Florida. His time at Outward Bound also gave Mike experience organizing and developing courses. His interest in working directly with teenagers for longer periods of time and in an academic setting led him to join the faculty of Vail Mountain School in 2002. During his ten years at VMS, Mike was the junior class advisor and taught U.S., European, and world history classes. While teaching at VMS, he co-founded Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder (SStS), an educational organization that provides high school students with the opportunity to volunteer with inspiring non-profit organizations around the world. Through his work with SStS, Mike was able to bring student groups to Kenya to work with IPI for over a decade.
Angie PhetteplaceTreasurer, Ex Officio
Angie, a Certified Public Account (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP), is a shareholder in N & A Professional Group, PC and the Compliance Officer for Noven Financial Group, Inc. She is currently involved in non-profits in her Denver community as well as abroad in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and now in Africa. Feeding children and empowering women are two main areas Angie likes to focus on and the IPI mission aligns directly with these goals. Angie looks forward to visiting KACH to see the amazing work done by IPI and to help contribute in the future.
Michael SteinbackImmediate Past Chair
Michael A. Steinback has spent his entire professional life in community service. Michael has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Santa Clara University and has held key positions in risk management, economic development, small business consulting, and commercial bank and community lending for several financial firms in California. Michael is currently the Executive Director of Detroit CARES, an affiliate of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, which works tirelessly to train and match qualified adult mentors with children needing guidance. Simultaneously, Michael is the Director of Enterprise Risk Management for the Julian C. Madison Building complex in downtown Detroit. The historic building is a Detroit landmark and one of the few Black-owned and operated office buildings in the area. Michael has also been active internationally, including community organizing training in Nairobi, Kenya. A current and former member of several national public policy boards and others focusing on children’s issues, Michael’s expertise and experience has benefited thousands around the country and the world.
Dr. Timothy EhlingerBoard Chair
Tim is the Director and Co-founder of the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding at UW-Milwaukee and professor of Systems Ecology in the Center for Global Health Equity. He is an evolutionary ecologist, receiving his PhD from the Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University where his research explored the complex ways that individuals, populations and communities adapt to disturbance and changing environments. He has worked in Wisconsin, Costa Rica, Romania and the Balkans/Black Sea region, and more recently with MSP Partners in Kenya, Uganda, Guatemala and Ecuador. Tim joined the IPI Board of Directors in December 2018 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board.
Dr. Kathleen HoltonSecretary
Dr. Holton is a Nutritional Neuroscientist who works at American University in Washington DC. Her research focuses on how dietary intake affects neurological function. She first learned about IPI in 2016 while conducting research in Meru, Kenya. She became a board member of IPI in 2018 and is using her skill set to help advance the health and nutrition of the children living at Amani Home.
Dr. Holton recently returned from IPI in Meru, where she charted each of the children’s height and weight and plotted them on CDC growth charts. Dr. Holton established a procedure for the staff to monitor the children to ensure they are maintaining healthy growth.
Bridghette has been worked for the Roeper School in Detroit for 17 years in various capacities. Currently, she is the Advanced Placement Testing Coordinator and is the assistant to the Director of College Counseling, working alongside them in every aspect of the college admissions process.
Bridghette visited IPI-Kenya for her second visit in summer 2019. She visited both times as a course instructor with Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder. She first met Dr. Karambu in Colorado at the SStS sponsored Global Solutions Forum as a representative from the Roeper School. Roeper became a SStS partner school after a former Roeper parent brought the organization to their attention. From her first encounter with Dr. Karambu, she knew that Meru, Kenya was the course she was most interested in. After two visits and connecting with students there, her passion for KACH/IPI and the Kithoka community has only continued to grow.
Nancy RossPast Board Chair
Nancy Martin Ross first visited Kenya in 2005. She had the opportunity to meet and to stay with local families impacted by HIV/AIDS and poverty. She assisted with the International Women’s Grass Roots Peace Conference, and was part of the ground dedicating ceremony for The Amani Children’s Home. Nancy is an alum of Georgetown University’s Nonprofit Management Executive Program through The School of Public Policy. She has a degree in economics from The University of Colorado and a past career with IBM in marketing. She is involved in her hometown of St. Louis with various organizations. Nancy is married with three children, two of whom visited IPI-Kenya with Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder. She has sponsored a Kenyan child from the Masai tribe for 20 years and has visited Rawanda, Congo. Before becoming the current IPI-US Managing Director, she served as an IPI board member.
Ralph Ogden, Denver, Colorado, attorney with Wilcox & Ogden, P.C. since 1978. Practice includes general civil litigation and appeals in various state and federal courts. Emphasis on civil rights and constitutional litigation. Began work in Kenya in 2010, with Humanity Through Baseball Foundation near Ahero, teaching baseball at primary and secondary schools; board member, International Peace Initiatives, 2014 – present; president, Technology Partnership, Meru, Kenya (providing refurbished computers and technology training to teachers at Meru schools); primary sponsor of a Rotary International grant to build a rain catchment-water project in Tharaka- Nithi County, Kenya; travels to Meru twice yearly; sponsors two university students, Samuel (Kenya Wildlife Training Institute – to become park warden) and Nora (Daystar University Athi River Campus, mass communications), as well as children at the KACH home.
Jeffrey Smith has more than a decade of experience in human rights advocacy, pro-democracy and research work on Africa, including the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy, Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa, and UNESCO. Smith is the co-founder and executive director of Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit organization that supports ethical, pro-reform leaders in Africa. He has planned and conducted human rights and civil society assessment missions to several African countries and has published extensively on US-Africa policy and human rights issues for major international publications. He frequently appears in media outlets as an expert commentator on CNN, NPR, MSNBC and the BBC.
President, Technology Partnership, Denver
President, Resort Software, Vail, Colorado
M.Div., Founding Director of IPI
Student, Santa Clara University
Student, Vanderbilt University
Student, University of Michigan